Rory Sharrock, Tallahassee Democrat
Within a span of 24 hours, Florida A&M football players Antonio Miller, Cameron Covin, Justin Crooks and Blake Veargis went from despair to delight.
Saturday evening, the players were dejected following an 18-16 loss to Jackson State in the closing seconds at Bragg Memorial Stadium.
By noon Sunday, their hearts and souls were elevated to a euphoric high upon being baptized at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
"I feel cleansed now. When you get baptized, it washes away your sins. I'm a member of the church and I want to attend every Sunday," said Veargis, a freshman wide receiver from Miami.
Along with teaching his playbook, FAMU coach Willie Simmons constantly stresses to the team the importance of spirituality.
Faith is one of the seven "Fs" for the Rattlers. The others being fundamentals, fast, fight, finish, fun and FAMUly. Coaches aim to embed these core principles in every player.
In sharing the video on Twitter, Simmons wrote "The Rattlers Football Team lost a game yesterday, but won in life today as four of our players were baptized!!! #Faith #FallIn"
Simmons told the Democrat the men were excited "with big smiles on their faces."
"They understand the importance of having a spiritual connection with the Lord. It's going to get them through tough times and situations," he said.
"For those guys to make that decision, it shows they want to be successful in life. The most important component to being successful in life is having a spiritual connection. We talk about developing the entire person - not just physically. Those guys took a huge step in the right direction."
Justin Cooks was baptized Sunday at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. (Photo: Rattler Productions/Florida A&M University Athletics Department)
Cam Covin embarks on a new spiritual journey after being baptized. (Photo: Rattler Productions/Florida A&M University Athletics Department)
Antonio Miller was one of four Rattlers baptized on Sunday, Sept. 16. (Photo: Rattler Productions/Florida A&M University Athletics Department)